June 23, 2008

Skim The Surface Or Dive Deeply?

“A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor.”  – Victor Hugo

An article in the June edition of The Atlantic Monthly caught my eye recently. “Is Google Making Us Stoopid?” poses an excellent question: is the ease with which we can skim through thousands of tidbits robbing us of our ability to think deeply?

The answer may be, Yes.

The capacity to sort through the vast amounts of information coming at us every day from the fire hose of business is unquestionably useful. We learn to pick and choose, make decisions quickly, and “keep the ball rolling.”

Yet the rapid-fire pace of life also contributes to more frequent episodes of anxiety, depression, and the physical ailments that go along with those conditions. Worse, we may be losing our capacity for paying attention. And it is this capacity that makes a deeply joyful and creative life possible.

Fact is, to round ourselves out and get the most from life, we must learn to both “drink from the fire hose” and make time for the deep thinking that yields the sweetest fruits of our labors.

Exercise – Survey Your Workweek

Lay out the vision for the week ahead. Do not use the computer. Instead, take pen and paper, find a quiet space in which you will be undisturbed for 15 to 30 minutes, and let your mind pour onto the page.

  • Begin with the overall vision of what you want for your life. Then visualize what you will do each day to move closer to the fulfillment of that vision this week.
  • What is the one thing you want to accomplish this week?
  • What small step can you take each day toward your goal?

You will be amazed at how open, relaxed, and free your mind feels.

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